40+FAB Blog

The fear of the future

I read these words of wisdom from the Rabbi Daniel Lapin, “As important as it is to be future focussed, it is also important to remember that fear only exists in the future”.

I thought about it long and hard, and it struck me that indeed we always fear what has not yet happened, but that could potentially happen. The only reason we also fear what has happened is that we think that it might happen again. So in effect there is nothing like a past or a present fear, but only a future one.

I remember I was mugged many years back while walking down a lonely street. As I saw my assailant approaching, I could feel the fear of what would happen, after he grabbed me and wrestled my wallet out of my pocket, he took off, at that moment my adrenaline was high and so without thinking I pursued after him, my reasoning returned to me when someone who saw what happened called out to me to let it go.

I did not feel the fear in that moment, but rather responded to protect myself as best as I could. Thinking back on this and many other scenarios I have found myself in, indeed fear induced in the now is always a result of something we are looking at in the future, but when the situation does occur, fear seems to disappear and we are left to do what we can.

So, what is the best way to avoid this fear? I guess the answer would have to do with being more present in the now. Sometimes we spend too much of our thinking in the past or in the future. We have to get the balance right and learn to withdraw from focussing on what breeds fear in the future by being engaged in the present. If you feel that someone might break into your house, improve your security now or possibly move into a new neighbourhood. Taking present action always obscures future fears.